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Friday, September 30, 2011

God reaches for us

It's easy for me to get caught up in wrong-thinking: that God is sitting "upstairs" in an easy chair, reclined, arms crossed, waiting until I do something -- pray, obey, serve -- then He will respond or make Himself known to me. But the opposite is true. Far from being passive, God actively pursues me.

"There is no need to plead that the love of God shall fill our heart as though he were unwilling to fill us. He is willing as light is willing to flood a room that is opened to its brightness; willing as water is willing to flow into an emptied channel. Love is pressing round us on all sides like air. Cease to resist, and instantly love takes possession." Amy Carmichael

Know the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:19

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting to Know You

Most mornings, from 6-8am, I sit in a ratty (but comfy) old recliner next to a rickety, unfinished bookshelf that holds commentaries, devotionals, hymnbooks, and Bibles, and I meditate and study because I want to know God. I have the luxury of spending two hours in quiet time since my kids are grown and I don’t have to run off to work outside the home. This morning, in one of those devotionals (Utmost for His Highest), I read about another person who sat in a special place and meditated on God.

John 1:45-48 says, “Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.’

‘Nazareth!’ exclaimed Nathanael. ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’

‘Come and see for yourself,’ Philip replied.

As they approached, Jesus said, ‘Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.’

‘How do you know about me?’ Nathanael asked.

Jesus replied, ‘I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you’” (NLT).

When Nathanael asked Jesus, “How do you know about me?” he wasn’t asking, “How did you see what I was doing?” Everyone could see that. What amazed Nathanael was that Jesus saw what was in his heart and that Jesus knew him.

I didn't start setting aside time to get to know Jesus until I was thirty-five years old. But this morning it struck me in a new way that sitting and getting to know God is not just a one-way deal. It's how God gets to know us too. Of course, this doesn’t happen only when we're sitting quietly, but what does our willingness to set aside the first part of our day (and the amount of time is not important) show Jesus about what is in our hearts?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do Less, Better

Although I call myself a writer and a speaker, I really consider myself simply a learner. I love to read and study, and I love to go to conferences and hear other speakers. If it were up to me, I'd just sit around and absorb all this good information for myself. But this would be selfish, right? Jesus says, "Love your neighbor."

And so I'm compelled to pass on to others what I learn -- and this happens through writing and speaking. And that's what this "blog" is all about. I don't promote it (as you can tell by my whopping 13 followers) but simply use it to pass on things that I've learned.

Today I'd like to mention two books that mentored me and changed my life: "Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon MacDonald and "Margin" by Dr. Richard Swenson.

These books teach about time management and making priorities. MacDonald's book encourages us to run our lives instead of letting life run us. Swenson's book reminds us that we need to plan "down" time - not cram as much as we can into our day but leave some breathing room. The result when combined: a peaceful and productive life. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, I encourage you to check out these books.